Caramelized fennel with goat cheese

April 26, 2012

Caramelized fennel with goat cheese

Page 172, Ottolenghi

So, readers, let’s review. B and I believed that we disliked eggplant before starting the Year of Plenty and trying Ottolenghi’s version of eggplant. B and I also believed that we disliked fennel. Anyone want to take a guess at what sentence comes next? Yep, Ottolenghi really is a miracle worker with ALL vegetables. Although I will admit that any vegetable that you caramelize and then top with goat cheese is probably going to taste alright, we were still surprised by how absolutely delish squish this dish was!

It made the perfect accompaniment to our grilled fish and dilled rice for dinner tonight, though we also hypothesize that it would be amazing on crostini, or as a light dessert, or just eaten alone with your fingers while standing at the kitchen counter. Whatever – you have totally done it too, so don’t pretend. Just make this and eat it however you prefer. It’s delicious and decadent with the sweetness of the fennel and the creamy tang of the goat cheese. And it’s easy! This came together in less than 10 minutes while the fish grilled. Fennel for the win! Who knew?

Caramelized fennel with goat cheese

4 small fennel bulbs

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp sugar, depending how sweet you want it

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 small garlic clove, crushed or diced

3/4 cup chopped dill

grated zest of one lemon

coarse sea salt and black pepper

goat cheese

Start by preparing the fennel bulbs. First, cut off the leafy fronds, keeping a bit aside for the garnish. Next, slice off the end of the root and remove the tough outer layers, making sure the base still holds everything together. Cut each bulb lengthwise into 1/2 in. thick slices.

Melt butter and olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When the butter starts to foam, add a layer of sliced fennel. Do not overcrowd the pan and don’t turn the fennel over or stir it around in the pan until one side has become light golden, which will take a few minutes. Using tongs, turn the slices over and cook for another few minutes. Remove from the pan, add a bit more olive oil and butter if needed and repeat the process with the remaining raw fennel.

Once all the fennel is done and removed from the pan, reduce the heat, then add the sugar, fennel seeds, and plenty of salt and pepper to the pan. Fry for 30 seconds, adding a little more oil or butter if needed, until the sugar is dissolved, then return all the fennel to the pan and caramelize them gently. Once the fennel is caramelized, coated with sauce and tender, turn off the heat and add the garlic. Stir again to incorporate it.

To serve, toss the fennel in a bowl with the dill and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning. Arrange on a serving plate, and top with goat cheese .

 

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One response to “Caramelized fennel with goat cheese

  1. Pingback: Year of Plenty Top Five Lists and the final Ottolenghi dish « The Year of Plenty

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